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News ID: 89637
Publish Date : 26 April 2021 - 21:40
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ANKARA (Dispatches) -- Turkey should expel U.S. troops from Incirlik Air Force Base after U.S. President Joe Biden called the alleged massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century as genocide, chairman of the Turkish Patriotic Party Dogu Perincek has said.
"The Turkish armed forces must immediately establish full control over Incirlik Air Base and to bring home the U.S. troops who are there within 15 days, "he said.
The Incirlik base, located near the town of the same name in the province of Adana, is currently used by both the Turkish and U.S. Air Force and is considered the easternmost base of the U.S. Air Force and NATO Command in Europe.
After the U.S. move, calls have been rising in Turkey to expel the Americans, but Turkish politicians have not made a tangible decision yet.
Turkey’s presidential spokesman said on Sunday Biden’s declaration is "simply outrageous” and Turkey will respond over coming months.
Biden broke on Saturday with decades of carefully calibrated White House comments over the 1915 killings, delighting Armenia and its diaspora but further straining ties between Washington and Ankara, both members of the NATO military alliance.
"There will be a reaction of different forms and kinds and degrees in coming days and months,” Ibrahim Kalin, President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman and adviser, told Reuters in an interview.
Kalin did not specify whether Ankara would restrict U.S. access to the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey.
After other Turkish officials swiftly condemned Biden’s statement, Erdogan was to address the issue after a cabinet meeting on Monday, Kalin said.
"At a time and place that we consider to be appropriate, we will continue to respond to this very unfortunate, unfair statement,” he said.
The description of the incident as "genocide” is a sensitive issue for Turkish leaders.
Turkey acknowledges that atrocities took place against Armenians during the war, but it says the killings were not a part of a systematic campaign and do not amount to genocide. Azerbaijan likewise disputes the term.
Countries such as the UK have condemned the killings, but believe that they do not meet the definition of genocide as defined by the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide.
Turkish-American relations have been plagued with tensions in recent years.
The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of Russian air defenses, while Ankara has been angered by Washington’s arming of Kurdish YPG militants in Syria and not extraditing a U.S.-based cleric Turkey accuses of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.
Navigating those disputes will now be even harder, Kalin said. "Everything that we conduct with the United States will be under the spell of this very unfortunate statement,” he said.
Kalin said Turkey’s parliament is expected to make a statement this week. Analysts say lawmakers may hit back rhetorically against Biden by classifying the treatment of Native Americans by European settlers as genocide.
Still, Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952, and it continues to host U.S. nuclear weapons at its Incirlik Air Base.
As well as limiting access to Incirlik, Turkey also has options to reduce military coordination with the United States in northern Syria and Iraq or scale down diplomatic efforts to support the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan.
Kalin said U.S. officials had told Turkey the declaration would not provide any legal basis for potential reparation claims.
Nevertheless, Erdogan told the U.S. president when they spoke by phone on Friday, their first conversation since Biden took office three months ago, that it would be a "colossal mistake” to go ahead with his statement.
"To reduce all that to one word and try to implicate that Turks were involved, our Ottoman ancestors were involved in genocidal acts, is simply outrageous,” Kalin said. "It’s not supported by historical fact”.
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